How to Maintain Your Show Stallion While Breeding
The key to maintaining your show stallion while breeding is to set up two completely different routines and to follow those schedules religiously. In our training program, the stallions are treated like every other horse in the barn and are expected to be disciplined and respectful. One of the hardest things to do for yourself and your stallion is to expect your horse to be in the breeding shed one minute and then to be in the show pens the next. This is against the natural tendencies of a stallion who are genetically predisposed to a structural hierarchy where there is one dominant male. If your stallion is breeding mares, he tends to believe that he is at the top of the pecking order and not you. By maintaining a normal day to day work schedule, it is easier for him to decipher between breeding and work. At our facility our stallions are not secluded from other horses and are not led around with stud chains.
I think one of the biggest mistakes I see people making is trying to treat their stallions different from the way they treat their other horses. This is opposite of the way it should be which is where they are treated and disciplined as any other horse would be. As owners of stallions, we tend to make excuses for the way they behave. If you keep them secluded, and try to keep them from acting as a stallion, their first instinct, as herd animals, will be to call out to other horses. All of our stalls are set up so that every one of our stallions is stalled by other horses and can touch noses with mares, geldings, and other stallions. When stalled this way on a daily basis with other horses, they are more socialized and fall in line with the day to day program.
Teaching your horse ground manners from a young age and maintaining those day to day will help in keeping control when it comes to breeding. Your stallion needs to be respectful at all times and not pulling, dancing, pawing, squealing, etc. He needs to know that you are the alpha male during the whole process. If you feel your stallion is more than you can handle, it would be best to have a professional manage the breeding duties.
With our stallions that we are showing during breeding season, we breed on an every other day program and each horse is given their individual handler. We never let the person who is training that particular stallion handle their breeding duties as well. The only time that we lead the stallions with a stud chain is if they are headed to breed a mare or to be collected; otherwise, we just use a regular halter and lead rope. We always make sure to go out the same door for breeding which is different than the door we use in the day to day training program.
Another suggestion, if you are planning to breed and show at the same time, would be to haul the horse out to someone else’s facility to ride him and leave the breeding for when he is at home. This is the reason there are breeding farms because most people don’t want to deal with the day to day issues of a stud during breeding season. Truthfully, there are only a handful of horses that can handle double duty successfully.
After we have finished collecting the stallion, we tie him in the stall for a little while and then work him for a short amount of time in order to get his focus and attention back on training.
A simple tip when showing is to rub a little amount of vicks on the inside of their nostrils and it will help mask the smell of mares that may be in heat at the time.
As always; Ride Hard, Be Safe, Have Fun - Steve Kutie
All cases should also be looked at individually, as no two horses are the same.
As a general rule, the majority of the horses are not going to be bred during show season, but this is information you can use should you be going for a year end title where you are showing for a full year. Most horses tend to start their breeding career after their show career is over.